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Clayvin Vineyard Southern Valleys

Clayvin is a living tribute to Marlborough’s viticultural history. Certified organic and planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah, this incredible site features 30-year-old vines, dense clay soil, high-density plantings, and receives the utmost care and attention befitting of our prized vineyard.

Fast Facts

  • Certified organic by BioGro New Zealand
  • 13.4 hectares on north-facing slopes
  • Clay-based soils
  • Dense planting with a diverse selection of clones and a range of rootstocks
  • 5000 vines per hectare, compared to a normal density of 2000-2500 vines per hectare
  • 7.8 hectares of Pinot Noir vines, 3.36 hectares of Chardonnay, and 1 hectare of Syrah
  • Low yielding vines, resulting in wines of great concentration and richness
  • Vines standing 500mm tall, half the height of usual vines
  • Contributes fruit for many of Giesen’s most-awarded wines

 

The cornerstone of our premium wine project, this wholly organic 13.4h hectare vineyard is named after the vineyard’s clay-based soils.

On the north-facing slopes of the Southern Valley, it was first planted in 1992 with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today Clayvin has 7.8 hectares of Pinot Noir vines, 3.36 hectares of Chardonnay, and one hectare of Syrah. These 30 year old vines grown on clay soil reward with fruit that has structure and tannin overlaid with minerality.

 

Planting

In the tradition of a French vineyard, Clayvin is densely planted with diverse clones on a wide range of rootstocks dotted across the hillside. Syrah, traditionally a wine from warmer climates, was planted in the warmest and driest part of the vineyard at the very top of the hill. It receives focused attention and careful management, resulting in a remarkable cool climate Syrah.

Traditional vineyards grow approximately 2,000 vines per hectare where Clayvin farms a whopping 5,000 per hectare!

This high density planting means the vines put their energy into survival rather than vegetative growth. Roots push down through the soil for nutrients which in turn controls vigour, ensure more of the vine’s energy goes towards fruiting rather than leaf growth. Upon reaching the clay these roots are able to access and unlock its rich store of iron and magnesium – qualities reflected in the great structure of the final wine.

Clay depth and composition varies across the vineyard, allowing different varieties to be grown and giving blocks of the same variety different flavour profiles.  The Clayvin soils, coupled with high density planting means the vines are low yielding, resulting in wines of great concentration and richness.

Traditional vines are usually a metre off the ground and stand around waist height – the vines at Clayvin are 500mm and just knee height!

 

Care

All Clayvin vines are hand picked and tended with support from a specially imported Italian Geier ‘Crawler’ which takes care of vine weeding, crop spraying and trimming. Weighing just over a tonne, and with a width of 1.1m, the crawler has less downward pressure than a human footprint. This special machine supports our minimal compaction philosophy for our high density, organic vineyards.

 

Premium Quality

According to winemaker Marcel Giesen, ultra-premium wines should be a reflection of the place where they are grown. He says Clayvin’s location, soil, high density planting, differing root stock and clones are harnessed with meticulous organic vineyard management, which creates wines with a sense of place.

No surprise then that this world-renowned vineyard has historically set the standard for premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production from Marlborough.

Leading US wine critic, Robert Parker, rated The Single Vineyard Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2013 at 95+ points -  the third highest ranking for a New Zealand Chardonnay, ever.